American Elephants

Some Practical Solutions to Fix Everything! by The Elephant's Child


An important new article from the Hoover Institution, “Hanson: Struggle Between Elites And Masses Defines US Policy,” is about Victor Davis Hanson rather than by him. I suggest that it is “important” because it is a good look at American policy and “history, he says, offers lessons for today’s technology-driven world, especially when it comes to elites,the masses, and the future of society.”

He says that globalization has enriched the coastal corridors of the country and have more in common with Paris or Tokyo than with Ames, Iowa. The “elite” mindset occurs in this geographic concentration, and their attitudes are favored by Academe, the media, government agencies and technology companies that dominate the airwaves and the internet. There’s a big disconnect. High living materialism on one side, which a more rural America regards as superficial indulgence and decadence, that is not only wrong-headed, but bad for the country.

In terms of public policy, Hanson has recommended “rethinking the geography of power,” starting with moving the United Nations from New York City to Haiti, Libya, or Uganda whose capital cities are underappreciated, yet appropriate cities at the frontlines of poverty and crises and thus better places from which to conduct international governance.

As for US cabinet agencies, he suggested transferring the Department of Agriculture to somewhere more agrarian-minded, such as Topeka or Fresno, where bureaucrats would then spend more time with the farmers they regulate. Likewise, he said, Salt Lake City might be an ideal home for the Interior Department; Houston or Bismarck for the Energy Department; and Youngstown, Ohio, or Flint, Michigan, for the Departments of Labor, and Commerce.

“Washington, DC is often considered out of touch, both politically and geographically, with the rest of America,” he said. “Transferring seats of power to hoi polloi is not just practically smart, but morally long overdue.”

Well, yes. That would straighten out a lot of governmental excess.  He said “pragmatism” is the most important quality of rural people. They are familiar with the nature of weather and the seasons. They understand nature better, and have a sense of life as unpredictable and tragic.  The disconnect means that the checks on our excesses  are disappearing. The coastal elites can give virtue-signalling speeches on TV, but fail to understand  the actual consequences of their own abstract ideologies.

When and how did it become acceptable for large businesses to be political advocates?  To use their businesses to capture all the personal information of the ordinary American people in order to sell it to advertisers and whoever for whatever purposes, making themselves fabulously wealthy by doing so. And appointing themselves judge and jury of what information we can receive and what information we can publish.

Do read the whole thing. It’s food for thought, and worth your time.

Just What Does Being “Presidential” Mean? by The Elephant's Child


I have always suspected that Leftist ideology would prefer that we were more like Europe. Not sure what that means—Kings and Queens instead of boring old presidents? More castles for the exceedingly rich so they don’t have to build their own? Surely it’s not more wars. I also suspect that it’s partly because they are more than a little unfamiliar with history. They are very big on blaming America for slavery and racism, apparently unaware that slavery was the way of the world pretty much until the British and America banned it. American Indians practiced slavery. The vast majority of the trans-Atlantic slave trade went to the sugar islands of the Caribbean and South America, not here.

My point, however, is that Americans don’t understand the efforts made by the Founding Fathers, the early settlers, and historians well-versed in history to not favor any kind of royal trappings, they wanted us simple, ordinary, common, down-to-earth, good people. After the Revolution, when we thought we were done with British royalty, many wanted George Washington to be a King, but he would have no truck with that. He really didn’t want to be the President —he just wanted to go back to his farm. Whenever someone got to yearning for more elegance, there was usually someone else to remind that we don’t do that sort of thing. There was just an extensive article this week about the tendency of residents of “the swamp” to want to buy great art (with taxpayer dollars) to make Washington DC  a little classier.

Which brings me to the vast complaints about President Trump. The problem is the tweets. Of course it’s the language too, the Queens accent, (Dan Bongino, who is from Queens. says Trump talks like someone from Queens who is in the construction business.) Even the Never Trumpers always emphasize the tweets. The insults, the name-calling, the criticism. He’s Not Presidential!! they cry, forgetting that tweeting was not available to the previous 44 or 43.  I don’t mind because it tells us what he’s thinking, and I find that helpful information. And if they knew a little more presidential history, they wouldn’t yammer on about being “unpresidential.”

But “presidential”— if there is some particular standard for presidents, I must have missed it. We have had a very few exceptional, a lot of more or less OK ones, some marginally competent and some downright awful. The party that is not in power always has nasty thing to say about the president that is in power. Presidents are only ordinary men (so far) with all the faults and quirks that go along with being human, who are maybe a little more ambitious that the rest of us. We elect them to run the country for four years, and if they do a very good job we may give them another four years. We ask a lot of a president, but he gets to surround himself with the best advisors he possibly can get along with, but he’s the boss. When the board of directors of a corporation needs a new CEO do they sit around the table complaining about his funny hair, or his tan out of a bottle? They want someone who can make the company work better, earn more money, make better products, hire better people, make the company grow and prosper.

But isn’t that exactly what Trump is doing? Making the country grow and prosper? Black and Hispanic unemployment is the lowest in history. Small business prospering, large business prospering. But the Media says Trump is a racist? (see previous post) No, former Speaker Pelosi, tax cuts are not just for the rich. Everybody benefits, and the rich don’t necessarily benefit the most. And announcing that the first thing you’d do when you get back in power is to end the tax cuts immediately requires an immediate remedial course in economics, as well as a failure to get back in power.

When you cut taxes, people are able to keep more of their own money, and invest it in new businesses, new products, new ideas, or just buy something they’ve needed for years. When the government dumps dumb regulations that are not accomplishing anything, people are freed up to do new things. But the environment! Trump is getting rid of regulations. Yes. filling the gas tanks of America’s cars with fuel made of corn (food) was a dumb idea. The Paris Climate Accords were a scheme to get the rich countries to give a big chunk of their wealth to poor developing countries for free, and pretending that it had some effect on the climate (it didn’t) was a dumb idea.  What the Left hates is that the country is prospering under Trump, and there’s a possibility that he might get re-elected, which accounts for much of the venom.

The Common Complaint of Bias in the Media (TRUE) by The Elephant's Child


Ann Coulter, “New York Times  best-selling author and conservative columnist” said today at Breitbart that she just wants President Trump to “destroy the media”— even if nothing else is accomplished by his administration.  She was specifically offended by the media’s “distaste” that the president tweeted about the killing of white farmers occurring in South Africa. (not to be mentioned), and she added I want him to expose where the Democratic Party is going with things like their chant “No borders, no wall, no USA at all,” Gov Cuomo saying America was never great, or the New York Times hiring Sara Jeong who just tweets hatred and venom towards white men.

Well, I can’t disagree with Ann all that much. A former editor for the New York Times, David Leonhardt, claimed that American racism is the only reason Americans care about the death of Molly Tibbits at the hands of an illegal alien. (No it’s not racism, it’s the ILLEGAL part.) We don’t like 20 year old college students being brutally murdered. The only reason Democrats try to stick the Republicans with the racism tag, is because Democrats have such a long and dreadful history of their own racism. They thought electing the first black president would finally absolve them of their history. But they haven’t changed their behavior.

CNN excitedly thought they had caught President Trump in an impeachable offense, lying about prior knowledge of the infamous Trump Tower meeting during the 2016 presidential campaign. Turned out it was Lanny Davis, Cohen’s attorney, who said Cohen told him, but Davis has since admitted publicly that Cohen did not have such information, and he was a source on the story to CNN. CNN refused to retract the story in spite of it’s falsification.

Twitter failed to block or ban a tweet to NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch on Sunday that said:

The only way these people learn is if it affects them directly. So if Dana Loesch has to have her children murdered before she’ll understand, I guess that’s what needs to happen.

Loesch’s husband complained to Twitter, who eventually responded “We have reviewed your report carefully and found that there was no violation of the Twitter Rules against abusive behavior.” Threaten to kill your kids? Fine. They did remove it by Wed. after an outcry.

I was about to discard my 2002 book on Media Bias by Bernard Goldberg, but I think I’d better hang on to it. A strong leftward bias by the news media is not anything new, just more virulent.

Some thoughts on those angry voters. Ask parents of any two-year-old and they can tell you about those temper tantrums; the stomping feet, the rolling eyes, the screaming…Imagine a nation full of uncontrolled two-year-old rage. The voters had a temper tantrum last week…Parenting and governing don’t have to be dirty words: the nation can’t be run by an angry two-year-old.
……………………………..ABC’s Peter Jennings after the GOP won
…………………………………..the House. Nov, 14,1994

The man is on the Court. You know, I hope his wife feeds him lots of eggs and butter and he dies early like many black men do, of heart disease. Well, that’s how I feel. He is an absolutely reprehensible
…………………………..—USA Today columnist Julianne Malveaux on ………………………………Justice Clarence Thomas on PBS. Nov.4 1994

There are lots more examples in the book, but two will suffice.

The Abundance of Life on Earth by The Elephant's Child


The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) released a report last week about the Endangered Species Act (1973).  It has been one of those “feel good”laws that makes residents of big cities feel noble about protecting the wildlife of the world. Zoos have found that trying to preserve threatened species with breeding in zoos has meant more interest from the public and more financial support. And the world’s zoos have had some success. The costs of the Endangered Species Act are huge — easily in the tens of billions and probably in the hundreds of billions. The accomplishments are very questionable.

Many species which were thought to be endangered aren’t. We just weren’t looking in the right place (Polar bears, Emperor penguins, Canadian Caribou herds). Ardent environmentalists are known to search for a species that they can call “endangered” to prevent the building of a project they don’t like. In this case it was a beetle that could prevent the Keystone pipeline. Farmers and ranchers have been known to shoot species found on their land lest government regulations make their property unusable and unsalable. The court has ruled that Congress intended for federally endangered species to be saved “whatever the cost” in the case of California’s snail darter. A green light for the bureaucracy is part of what created “the swamp.”

Wild animals usually try to avoid people as much as possible, and they’re good at it. If there seems to be none here, it does not mean that there are not some on the other side of the mountain. I live in Bellevue, Washington, a Seattle suburb with a 2016 population of over 141,400 that is building “affordable housing” everywhere, in the form of high-rise apartments. I think they are transforming a leafy city into Shanghai. This morning a neighbor complained online about a bobcat in her yard early. Anyone that drives home late at night will see coyotes and bunnies. (the rabbits explain the coyotes).

I grew up on 400 acres in the foothills of the Rockies, and our property abutted National Forest and BLM land, with a river running through it. I occasionally heard a cougar scream, and a lynx killed and ate my cat’s kittens, and tried for my dog. Rural people are apt to have a better understanding of the environment than city folk, whose idea of “wilderness” can be a little lacking.

Oct. 2010: “345 New Species Discovered, and 1/3 of Extinct Species Aren’t ExtinctPictured was an Okapi or Forest Giraffe, hadn’t been seen since 1969. March, 2012: “This is Elphaba“— pictured. She was a baby Aye-aye born at the Duke Lemur Center. Aye-ayes are nocturnal, lives in tropical rainforest, and has a very specialized diet of the interior of Ramy nuts, nectar from the Travellers Palm tree and some fungi and insect grubs. August, 2013:A New Carnivorous Mammal Species Discovered in the Americas , pictured the Olinguito — looks like a cross between a house cat and a teddy bear. December 2014: More Abundance of Life: 221 New Species Discovered. And here’s a picture of an animal you didn’t know existed,  a Markhor, a species of wild goat found in NE Afghanistan and Pakistan. If you are especially interested, enter “endangered species” or “new species” in the blank over Bob Hope’s head in the sidebar. (We probably have generations who have no idea who Bob Hope was)

It is a large and complicated Earth, and what seems to be missing in one place may well be abundant elsewhere. Biodiversity scientists estimate that we have discovered less than ten percent of species on the planet. In 2014, the new species, previously unknown, included 110 ants, 16 beetles, 3 spiders, 28 fished, 24 sea slugs, 2 marine worms, 9 barnacles, 2 octocorals, 25 plants, one waterbear and one tiny mammal—an elephant shrew. (not pictured)

P.S. The Polar Bears are Just fine and prospering.

Heather MacDonald Takes on Academe and UCLA by The Elephant's Child

How unbelievably stupid! A major designed to make its participants less knowledgeable, less able to find work, less able to cope with the world, and less useful as a member of the population. I was an English major at a very good small college, with excellent professors who were in love with literature and wanted to pass that on to their students. The professor who taught Shakespeare was a noted Shakespearean scholar.

No wonder college students seem to believe that socialism is a better alternative to freedom. If you have a student headed to UCLA, you had better rethink that. You are wasting their time and your money.Send them to vocational school instead—there they’ll at least learn something.

The Once Prosperous State of Venezuela. by The Elephant's Child

I didn’t see who came up with this, but it is all too painfully correct. Venezuela was once the richest state in South America, and then Cuba offered to help them out.

The Trump Administration Has Cut U.S. Aid to Palestine. by The Elephant's Child
August 26, 2018, 8:47 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: ,

The Trump administration late on Friday announced that it had cut $200 million in aid to the Palestinian Authority until such time as it can ensure that this American taxpayer money will not be used to fund terrorism. Bureaucracy moves slowly, and needs a jolt now and then.

The Taylor Force Act recently passed in Congress was a bill aimed at providing greater oversight on just how U.S. taxpayer dollars funded the Palestinians. The Palestinian Authority has been accused for years of using aid dollars to pay accused terrorists and their families annual salaries. We will no longer enable the Palestinian Authority and those in the corrupt Hamas terrorist government to use aid dollars in their war on Israel. The administration’s decision is designed to work in parallel with the Congressional mandate in the Taylor Force Act.

The Obama administration found ways to work around Congressional restrictions and laws. The Trump administration is implementing our aid policies in the way that Congress has repeatedly signaled that they want them implemented. Hamas control endangers the lives of the citizens of Gaza and makes the humanitarian and economic situation worse. We’ll see how this all develops.

QQQ: From Milton Friedman: “Capitalism and Freedom” by The Elephant's Child

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The heart of the liberal philosophy is a belief in the dignity of the individual, in his freedom to make the most of his capacities and opportunities according to his own lights, subject only to the proviso that he not interfere with the freedom of other individuals to do the same. This implies a belief in the equality of men in one sense; in their inequality in another. Each man has an equal right to freedom. This is an important and fundamental right precisely because men are different, because one man will want to do different things with his freedom than another, and in the process can contribute more than another to the general culture of the society in which many men live.

The liberal will therefore distinguish sharply between equality of rights and equality of opportunity, on the one hand, and material equality of equality of outcome on the other. He may welcome the fact that a free society in fact tends toward greater material equality than any other yet tried. But he will regard this as a desirable by-product of a free society, not its major justification. He will welcome measures that promote both freedom and equality — such as measures to eliminate monopoly power and to improve the operation of the market. He will regard private charity directed at helping the less fortunate as an example of the proper use of freedom. And he may approve state action toward ameliorating poverty as a more effective way in which the great bulk of the community can achieve a common objective. He will do so with regret, however, at having to substitute compulsory for voluntary action.

The egalitarian will go this far, too. But he will want to go further. He will defend taking from some to give to others, not as a more effective means whereby the “some” can achieve an objective they want to achieve, but on grounds of “justice.” At this point, equality comes sharply into conflict with freedom: one must choose. One cannot be both an egalitarian, in this sense, and a liberal.

A Nation of Immigrants, from Prager University by The Elephant's Child

Here’s Michelle Malkin to explain about immigration. There is enormous confusion about the issue. In demonstrations you will see Latin American immigrants holding signs that proclaim than”No human is illegal”, which is silly. Of course those who cross the border in defiance of American Law are Illegal. That’s the meaning of the word. If they are citizens of another country to which they owe allegiance, they aliens illegal aliens. Straightforward dictionary definitions. The immigration laws assume that we can accept about one million new immigrants a year.

The law is complicated by all sorts of problems like H-1B workers here because industry claims to need them. Then the law has to deal with their wives, and can the wives work? The laws are a bit of a mess, and need cleaning up. We do need a wall, walls do work, as the evidence from other countries who have walls demonstrates. And lots of countries have walls. Mexico has a wall, with watchtowers on their southern border.

The best source for information is the Center for Immigration Studies — They are pro-immigrant, anti-illegal immigrant, and try to make sense of all the information and misinformation.

Democrats are loudly proclaiming that our laws are mean and we should have open borders. The problem is that they have no concern whatsoever for the  illegal immigrants—or their welfare, they simply want more bodies for the 2020 census, which counts bodies, not citizens. The number of people in a state will determine the number of representatives a party may have in the House of Representatives, and the count in the electoral college. So you can probably guess why they want more illegal immigrants.

The Proud Story of a Nut Farmer by The Elephant's Child

Revealing the Secrets of a Industry. You’ve seen the cartons of almond milk in the stores and wondered. Here are the long-suppressed answers to your questions.

Here Are the Democrats’ Current Talking Points by The Elephant's Child


They have decided that the situation that gets the most reaction from voters is the “ripped from the arms of their mothers” line about the Border. Chelsea Clinton, now sorta-kinda intimating that she might consider running for office, was in Edinburgh for a Book Fair, I guess pushing a book or books in the “she persisted” thought line. She went on at great length about how truly awful it was of Trump to allow little children at the border to be “ripped from the arms of their mothers.” A really emotional line for female voters, but fact-free.

The second talking point is the absence of any mention of impeachment, which polls very well for Republicans. The public does not like all the talk about impeachment, so the word will not cross the lips of any Democrat.

The third, you have already heard: Trump is an unIndicted co-conspirator.  If you haven’t heard that in the last two days, you haven’t been paying attention. What it means is another matter entirely—which is nothing, nothing at all, but it sounds important.

David Horowitz explained it very well in his book Take No Prisoners. He wrote:

Politics is always a gamble. No one be sure what tactic will succeed, which is why we have to respect each other and keep our coalition strong, even when we disagree.

I said we were not good at politics. Actually we’re pretty terrible at politics. Whenever a Republican and a Democrat square off, it’s Godzilla versus Bambi. They call us racists, sexists, homophobes, and selfish pigs, and we call them….liberals. Who is going to win that argument? They spend their political dollars calling us names and shredding our reputations; we spend our political dollars explaining why the complicated solutions we propose will work and why theirs won’t. But when you are being called a racist, an enemy of women, and a greedy S.O.B., who will listen to your ideas about the budget? Who is going to believe you when all your motives are portrayed as vile?

Yes, they’ve called us names, vile names. The pessimistic view doesn’t stick. Better economic policies are the primary reason the economy has improved since 2016. If pro-growth policies continue, the economy’s strong performance will continue. Republicans are on the march.

U.S. economic performance is the strongest in years. One policy driving this turnaround is the substantially lower corporate-tax rate, which has made the U.S. more competitive with other countries. Regulatory changes—such as the partial rollback of Dodd-Frank and new leadership within the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—also have proved helpful, particularly for small businesses, which are benefiting from lower record-keeping and compliance costs. Meanwhile, the number of regulatory pages in the Federal Register has been cut by a third since President Obama’s last year in office. That’s a major reason the National Federation of Independent Business reports that more small-business owners are hiring than ever. They’re also increasingly optimistic about the future of the U.S. economy.

As the two hallmarks of recovery are still rising, the economy likely has not reached its new, higher growth path. This means that the U.S. can expect above-normal growth in the coming months, possibly even years.
 …………………………………….Lee Ohanian and Edward C. Prescott

Why Are Democrat-Run Cities Such a Mess? by The Elephant's Child

Why are Democrat-run cities such a mess? After every weekend we can expect to hear just how many people or children were shot in Chicago over the weekend. That is appalling, but unfortunately true. Tourist agencies have demanded that San Francisco clean up their streets. The feces problem is becoming well known. Los Angeles has an enormous homeless problem along the fabled Los Angeles river, well publicized. Portland just had riots over their attempt to move an encampment that was protesting ICE at the city’s ICE headquarters.

Here in Seattle, there is a streetcar that runs along the waterfront—slowly. You can get out and walk faster. In any case. the city has ordered new streetcars. Unfortunately the streetcars they ordered are too big for the tracks and too big for the garage where they spend the night. I could go on, but I try never to go into Seattle, nor think about it. The list of screw-ups is long and amusing if you don’t live here.

A recent list, I forget from who, but some large organization found the best run city in the United States to be — Nampa, Idaho. Boise was down at number 9. I come from Idaho originally, so I was pleased, but Idaho is a very Republican state. I started to write a Red State, but the Communist affiliation made me change it.

Chicago is apparently the center for the illegal alien traffic in illegal drugs, and I understood that Trump offered federal help. News from 3 hours ago, “Rahm Emanuel fires back at Trump after President slams city’s crime rate, ‘sanctuary’ status.” Last weekend 60 were shot, but only 4 killed outright. A researcher said that the violence is “virtually all carried out by native-born Americans rather than immigrants.” Chicagoans are demanding that Emmanuel resign. Chicago has a long history of officials that end up in jail, at least that is my impression. (I didn’t check that one out)

Seattle and Portland also have big homeless problems. The mistake, of course, is calling it “homeless” when the problem is addiction. That one is to be solved by safe sites for injecting your drugs with a nurse in attendance. They did build an apartment building for alcoholics a while back, where they could consume their liquor out of the public eye, until it killed them. I don’t know what happened to that big idea. Perhaps the problem is simply the absence of what might be called “tough love.” An insistence on ending the addiction and trying to straighten up. There are numerous organizations here to help the addicted, but expensive residential organizations, not free ones. At the other end of the problem is a push to reduce or void prison terms for drug possession, and to reduce prison terms for inmates. Is the “need to be nice” the reason why Democrat-run cities are such a mess? I have no answers, but it looks like nobody else does either.

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